Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Terry Schiavo - The Window Closes

I heard someone on a talk radio show comment that if Terry Schiavo was a baby, she wouldn't be allowed to be starved to death. Well, that's not exactly true. About 20 years ago, a musician named Steve Taylor wrote the following song lyrics in response to actual events in Indiana. If you want to understand the title of this post, read Mr. Taylor's comments from 1994 which follow the lyrics.

Baby Doe

Unfolding today
A miracle play
This Indiana morn
The father - he sighs
She opens her eyes
Their baby boy is born
"We don't understand
He's not like we planned"
The doctor shakes his head
"Abnormal" they cry
And so they decide
This child is better dead

I bear the blame
Believers are few
And what am I to do?
I share the shame
The cradle's below
And where is Baby Doe?

A hearing is sought
The lawyers are bought
The court won't let him eat
The papers applaud
When judges play God
This child is getting weak
They're drawing a bead
Reciting their creed
"Respect a woman's choice "
I've heard that before
How can you ignore?
This baby has a voice

I bear the blame
Believers are few
And what am I to do?
I share the shame
The cradle's below
And where is Baby Doe?
Where will it end?

It's over and done
The presses have run
Some call the parents brave
Behind your disguise
Your rhetoric lies
You watched a baby starve

I bear the blame
Believers are few
And what am I to do?
I share the shame
The cradle's below
And where is Baby...?

Written by Steve Taylor © 1984 Birdwing Music/Cherry Lane Music Publishing Co., Inc./C.A. Music (ASCAP)

Steve Taylor's comments from liner notes to the 1994 two-disc retrospective of his music "Now The Truth Can Be Told":

"I must credit both the Christian philosopher Francis Shaeffer and Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff for their influence and inspiration in helping me to develop a foundational belief in the sanctity of human life. Ten years after the events described in this song occurred, the alarm they and others sounded rings prophetically true. But it continues to be drowned out by the rhetoric of 'freedom of choice' and 'quality of life'. A baby was born in Bloomington, Indiana with down's syndrome, and despite numerous outside pleas for adoption, the parents, doctors, and ultimately the courts agreed to allow Baby Doe to starve to death, right there in the hospital. I began writing this song with the sense of outrage that fingers those responsible and demands justice. But the more I thought about what had happened, the more I realized that I shared in the blame -- that my silence had helped clear the way for Baby Does' suffering and death. Hearing this song again leaves me feeling empty and a little numb. In our democratic society, the battle for the sanctity of human life is being lost. And when that window closes, nothing will be sacred."

Thursday, March 17, 2005

LOTR: Cultural Icon

Three signs that the Lord of the Rings films have become a cultural icon:
  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three

(Take a look at the third one. They oppose the attempt to murder Terry Schiavo.)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Just Another Bureaucrat?

I was not surprised to see this article about alleged college professor Ward Churchill being accused of plagiarism. I was surprised (although, in hindsight, I'm not sure why) by something I read in Laura Frank's Rocky Mountain News article:

A three-person panel is reviewing that to determine if he [Ward Churchill] meets the standards of professional integrity set by CU.

The CU Board of Regents ordered the review after the public outcry over an essay Churchill wrote comparing victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to notorious Nazi bureaucrat Adolf Eichmann. Since then, Churchill has come under fire for some of his other writings and speeches, his scholarship, his claim of American Indian ancestry, and even his artwork. (Italics & bold added)

It seems reasonable to me that before a reporter starts accessorizing a famous individual's name with adjectives, she ought to do a little basic research. For example, Wikipedia has this to say about Adolf Eichmann:

Adolf Eichmann (March 19, 1906 — June 1, 1962) was a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany, and served as an Obersturmbannführer in the S.S.. He was largely responsible for the logistics of the extermination of millions of people during the Holocaust, in particular Jews, which was called the "final solution" (Endlösung). He organized the identification and transportation of people to the various concentration camps. Therefore, he is often referred to as the 'Chief Executioner' of the Third Reich.

It may be technically true that Eichmann was a bureaucrat, but a notorious bureaucrat? Using this same standard, Hitler was a notorious Nazi politician, Pol Pot was a notorious military leader and Stalin was a notorious Communist Head of State, John Wayne Gacy was a notorious party clown . . . Well, you get the idea.

What Ward Churchill said, as abhorant as it is, doesn't worry me. I don't like that he compared thousands of murder victims to a mass murderer, but at least he knew what he was saying when he invoked the name of Adolf Eichmann. What worries me is that a journalist, whose job it is to inform the public, believes that the best word to describe the architect of the Holocaust is "bureaucrat".

"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
~ George Santayana